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October 30, 2006

Beyond Comprehension

The American military has not been tracking weapons sent to the Iraqi security forces.  According to an article in the New York Times by James Glanz, Senator John Warner, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, asked for an assessment in May of how the logistics operation for the Iraqi Reconstruction and military operations. 

The answers came Sunday from the inspector general’s office, which found major discrepancies in American military records on where thousands of 9-millimeter pistols and hundreds of assault rifles and other weapons have ended up. The American military did not even take the elementary step of recording the serial numbers of nearly half a million weapons provided to Iraqis, the inspector general found, making it impossible to track or identify any that might be in the wrong hands.

Exactly where untracked weapons could end up — and whether some have been used against American soldiers — were not examined in the report, although black-market arms dealers thrive on the streets of Baghdad, and official Iraq Army and police uniforms can easily be purchased as well, presumably because government shipments are intercepted or otherwise corrupted.

The numbers are quite large.

In its assessment of Iraqi weaponry, the inspector general concluded that of the 505,093 weapons that have been given to the Ministries of Interior and Defense over the last several years, serial numbers for only 12,128 were properly recorded. The weapons include rocket-propelled grenade launchers, assault rifles, machine guns, shotguns, semiautomatic pistols and sniper rifles.

Of those weapons, 370,000 were purchased with American taxpayer money under what is called the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund, or I.R.R.F., and therefore fell within the inspector general’s mandate.

Despite the potential risks from losing track of those weapons — involving 19 different contracts and 142 delivery orders — the United States recorded serial numbers for no more than a few thousand, the inspector general said.

There are standard regulations for registering military weaponry in that way, governed by the Department of Defense small-arms serialization program. The inspector general’s report said that when asked why so many weapons went to Iraq with no record of serial numbers, American military officials in Baghdad replied that they did not believe the regulations applied to them.


There were also significant discrepancies in the numbers of weapons purchased and those in Iraqi warehouses. While 176,866 semiautomatic pistols were purchased with American money, just 163,386 showed up in warehouses — meaning that more than 13,000 were unaccounted for. All 751 of the M1-F assault rifles sent to Iraq were missing, and nearly 100 MP-5 machine guns.

I guess we know where the insurgents are getting their weapons, eh?

Posted by Lynn Allen on October 30, 2006 at 10:49 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink


Yeah, but one of the guys investigating this says it is "only" 4% of the weapons. Only 4%. Hey, that's not bad! Out of 350,000 or so, it's only 14,000 that have "gone missing."

Posted by: bluesky | Oct 31, 2006 10:03:00 AM

Lets not forget about the entire planeload of AK-47s that we bought and paid for that came up missing in transit to IRAQ. The planeload full of weapons (AK-47s) took off, but never landed in IRAQ.....



Posted by: CoolAqua | Oct 31, 2006 11:07:23 AM

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